The process is over. The Philadelphia 76ers pushed their chips in and made a big trade, a win-now move that now makes them a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. Let’s look at the deal (via Woj):
Sixers get – Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott
Clippers get – Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, 2020 first-rounder, 2021 unprotected 1st via Miami and two second-rounders.
Toronto and Milwaukee are the two best, most consistent teams in the East. Both teams have a superstar and depth behind them, a clear gameplan in place and are ready to contend. Boston, with all its drama, is still loaded with talent and sees a path to glory in Brad Stevens figuring out the pecking order and selling it to the locker room. These three teams have the solution in-house.
Philly on the other hand obviously needed to make moves. After losing Belinelli and Ilyasova, they were a tier below the top 3 in the East. First, they made the Butler move but soon realized Jimmy is a problem in any locker room and started doubting the fit. As he is a free agent this summer, questions about resigning him to the max started to appear. In addition to that, their depth got even worse, sending Šarić and Covington in the Butler trade.
With this move, the 76ers are in the conversation for one of the best starting five in the league – Simmons, Reddick, Butler, Harris, Embiid. Harris’ fit here is not a question, the Sixers need shooting, and Tobias is shooting 43.4% from three. He will provide extra spacing that Embiid needs and is an upgrade over Chandler. The potential issue is that he is also (as is Butler) a high usage guy and the “only one ball” situation is on Brett Brown’s hands. Scott and Boban can be useful till the playoffs when their minutes drop. One way of looking at the depth issue is that now they can have at least two starters on the court at all times and manage their minutes.
Philly used almost all its assets on two players that are unrestricted free agents this summer. Jimmy and Harris will be looking for max contracts, and soon they could be looking at 4 All-Star level players on max contracts. This move could be viewed as Butler insurance – maybe they decided Jimmy is not worth the max.
They sacrificed long-term flexibility to become better right now. Not surprising from a GM that has to prove he deserves a long-term contract by the end of the season.
If you want to win, hire Jerry West. Everywhere he goes, teams start making good decisions. Yes, the Clippers became the Horford-Milsap Hawks of the ’18/’19 NBA. Remember how that went for the Hawks?
This is a perfect sell-high moment for the Clippers. If you are big-game hunting, this is how you do it. Keep in mind they had CP3, Blake, and DeAndre a few years ago. Most teams (Philly) would tear everything down and suck for several years. The Clippers got several very good players, upped their value and are now acquiring assets and clearing cap space.
The talk around the league is that they are convinced Kawhi is coming this summer. In that case, the best course of action is to get as much room, and draft picks as possible. They are on the fringe of the playoffs, and a first-round exit following a loss to the Warriors is not something to look forward to when you can trade players and increase the value of your pick.
Take special note of the Miami unprotected 2021 that could be amazing.
Philly will try to get one more depth player, but the question is will anyone value their remaining assets (Fultz). Other than that, they will look to the buy-out market.
Clippers will now probably take calls on other players – Beverly and Mbah a Moute are free agents this summer and most likely to be moved.